\ ˈbrāk-ˌin How to pronounce break-in (audio) \

Definition of break-in

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act or action of breaking in a rash of break-ins at the new apartment house
2 : a performance or a series of performances serving as a trial run
3 : an initial period of operation during which working parts begin to function efficiently

break in

broke in; broken in; breaking in; breaks in

Definition of break in (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to enter something (such as a building or computer system) without consent or by force
2a : intrude break in upon his privacy
b : to interrupt a conversation
3 : to start in an activity or enterprise breaking in as a cub reporter

transitive verb

1 : to accustom to a certain activity or occurrence break in the new clerk
2 : to overcome the stiffness or newness of break in a pair of shoes

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Synonyms for break-in

Synonyms: Verb

burglarize, burgle

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Examples of break-in in a Sentence


the burglars broke in by smashing a window he rudely broke in to drop the names of several celebrities that he had met

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The 30-second spot aired during a break in the third Democratic presidential debate on ABC. Fortune, "Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez Fires Back After Picture of Her Is Set Ablaze in GOP Ad," 13 Sep. 2019 After a break in temperatures this week in the Phoenix area, triple digits are back for the rest of the week as high pressure builds over the region once again, the National Weather Service reported Wednesday. Mike Cruz, azcentral, "Phoenix area weather to warm up for the weekend, but drop into the 90s again next week," 11 Sep. 2019 This is good news for Democrats, given that a variety of surveys and polls indicate that voters with a college education break in their favor by a 21-point spread, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center study. Chris Wilson, Time, "The America That Votes in 2020 Will Look Radically Different Than it Did in 2016," 11 Sep. 2019 Look for warm and muggy conditions across southern Wisconsin on Tuesday, Cronce said, with a few breaks in the clouds occurring later in the day. Joe Taschler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Heavy rain possible across much of Wisconsin through Thursday," 10 Sep. 2019 Pregame analysis: The Bears caught a bit of a break in last year’s division-clinching win over the Packers at Soldier Field when running back Aaron Jones suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first quarter. Dan Wiederer,, "3 keys for the Bears against the Packers: Mitch Trubisky must protect the ball and produce," 4 Sep. 2019 City crews were working to clean up mud left behind by flooding caused by a water main break in North Park early Sunday officials said. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Water main break in North Park causes flooding," 1 Sep. 2019 The festival will be held on Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Hopkinton Center for the Arts, 98 Hayden Rowe St., from 12 to 9 p.m. A new show will follow each hour with a short break in the afternoon. Corey Dockser,, "Shoestring theater, artwork, and chorus rehearsals," 30 Aug. 2019 At that point, the match was evenly poised with Kyrgios 1-0 up and on serve, before prevailing in a tie break in the second set. George Ramsay, CNN, "Nick Kyrgios labels the ATP 'pretty corrupt' after US Open win," 28 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'break-in.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of break-in


1856, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1535, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

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Statistics for break-in

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Time Traveler for break-in

The first known use of break-in was circa 1535

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More Definitions for break-in



English Language Learners Definition of break-in

: the act or crime of illegally entering a house, building, etc., especially by using force


\ ˈbrāk-ˌin\

Legal Definition of break-in

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the act or action of breaking in

Legal Definition of break in (Entry 2 of 2)

: to enter something (as a building or computer system) without privilege (as consent) or by force

More from Merriam-Webster on break-in

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with break-in

Spanish Central: Translation of break-in

Nglish: Translation of break-in for Spanish Speakers

Comments on break-in

What made you want to look up break-in? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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